Image d'un enfant marchant a quatre pattes sur du bois | Image of a child crawling on wood

Slivers and splinters

12 January 2009

A sliver is a foreign object that has become embedded in the skin. 

Most slivers are small wood splinters that do not penetrate deeply. Thorns, glass, or metal fragments can also be slivers. Slivers can be painful if pressure is applied to the affected area.


  • Wash the affected area with soap and water.
  • Sterilize a pair of tweezers with alcohol or in a flame.
  • Gently pull the sliver out with the tweezers. If the sliver is deeply embedded in the skin, you will need to fully expose the end of the sliver first. To expose the sliver, slit the skin over the end of the sliver using a sterilized needle. Lift up the end of the sliver with the needle and then grasp the sliver firmly with the tweezers. Pull the sliver out at the same angle it went into the skin. 

Seek medical attention if the sliver does not come out easily, is deeply embedded, is a fishhook or an object with a barb.

Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: August 2013, January 2016

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